Saturday, March 25, 2023

How Often Are Updates?


While busily adding names to the Tilson line of my family tree at, I got to wondering just how often Ancestry actually updates those helpful tools they've put at our disposal. After all, if I document the connection between my Tilson DNA matches and my own ancestors, will the new material I've added change any readout on Ancestry's ThruLines?

I took that question to my go-to search engine the other day to see what I could find. Short answer: not very much.

True, Ancestry's own support system provided an overall information page on using ThruLines. Scrolling down to the section labeled "Troubleshooting," I found a brief statement: "It may take up to 48 hours for your ThruLines to appear after you make changes." Given that statement followed sections on how to set up and explore ThruLines, I couldn't tell from the context whether the 48 hours applied to how long it takes for the initial appearance of ThruLines, once a subscriber linked DNA results to the right person in a tree, or to a situation like mine with ongoing updates.

What I am wondering is, for example, after adding an entire branch of a family—by, say, finding all the children's names listed in a census record—how long before Ancestry picks up on that fact and recalibrates their calculations to reflect on which DNA matches resonate with the additions I just made. After all, I'd like to think my work on my tree isn't only for benefit of my own family but that it could maybe help others find their way to their own Most Recent Common Ancestors.

Likewise, for those DNA matches showing in my ThruLines for whom I've realized the tree isn't entirely correct—maybe confusing one William Tilson for another, for instance—how quickly would Ancestry pick up on those flagged mistaken identities and revise their ThruLines readout?

Even beyond that: for more recent tools, such as the "By Parent" beta version, how often will Ancestry provide updates for those Unassigned matches? According to their Support page, Ancestry's last update to that tool was in April of 2022—almost one year ago. While that article mentioned a vague "you may see updates in the future," I'm hoping that future picture gets clearer, soon. These are the kind of updates I'd gladly welcome.

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